“Prose of a Con” – The Russell Wardlow Story
Electronic music-based nonprofit Give A Beat partners with DanceGruv Radio and DJ Times for a new radio series called “Prose of a Con”, featuring the work of Russell Wardlow. Each episode will showcase Wardlow’s prose and poetry, which will be spoken aloud by DJs across the electronic music community. Wardlow, resident #78756 of the Omaha Correctional Center, composes his work entirely behind bars. His poignant and insightful readings speak to the destructive nature of the prison system as much as they do the healing power of artistic expression, sentiments he and Give A Beat both share.
“Prose of a Con”, a project started by Wardlow in 2017, tells his story as an artist trapped in the prison system. Prose discovered Give a Beat by chance when Wardlow’s best friend and partner the project, Katie Andrews, met Marshall Jones, the CEO of DanceGruv Radio and a Give A Beat member. As the other half of Prose, Andrews uploads all of Wardlow’s “floetry” to the project’s website and Instagram. Both Wardlow and Andrews appear on the radio series to speak about the challenges and rewards of fostering creative freedom when physical freedom remains out of reach.
The goal of this collaboration is to humanize and change the narrative around those who have been most affected by our system of mass incarceration. The challenge is to undo decades of labeling the “other” which politicians and the media have perpetuated and has led to a profit-driven system, a machine that needs to be dismantled which as prominent social justice leader Bryan Stevenson states “The system treats you better if you are rich and guilty than poor and innocent.”
Take this moment to meet, learn, and understand the story behind Inmate #78756. Meet the man and the artist, Russell Wardlow.
Eli (Soul Clap)
Stacey Hotwaxx Hale
For more information and work from Russell Wardlow:
Prose of a Con